Washington State: Illegal to Ask Transgenders If They’re Transgender

AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File
AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File

In December, the Human Rights Commission of Washington State issued a ruling that transsexual men may have a right to use women’s locker rooms, and if a woman complains, she may be removed.

According to the Family Institute of Washington:

Not only does this new mandate require people to completely ignore biology and reasonable concern for safety in private places, but it also restricts an individual’s ability to question the motives of an individual entering those facilities. This policy sets dangerous precedent.

The socially conservative group says businesses are at risk of lawsuits “if they speak out to protect the privacy of their customers,” adding:

Coaches and gym teachers are no longer able to make sure their young athletes are able to shower and change their clothes in a safe setting. 14-year old girls must get comfortable with the idea that an individual with male anatomy, even in an aroused state, can change clothes next to them in a locker room, so long as that individual claims to feel like a woman internally.

One of the unusual aspects of the new rule is that it is illegal to question people seeking to use a particular facility about their gender. However, a person who “expresses concern or discomfort” about a man undressing in a women’s locker room “should be directed to a separate or gender-neutral facility.” In short, women can be removed from a women’s locker room, but a transsexual cannot.

The new human rights rule also bans certain kinds of speech. It is illegal to ask “unwelcome personal questions about an individual’s sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, or transgender status.” As it is in New York City, it is now illegal in Washington State to “misuse” someone’s preferred gender pronoun. You can be sued if you call a “trans-woman” a “sir” or use the pronoun “him.” This would put someone in a quandary since it is illegal to ask him about his gender preference.

The rule also makes it illegal to use “offensive names, slurs, jokes, or terminology regarding an individual’s sexual orientation or gender expression of gender identity.”

Violations of the new human rights rule can result in civil lawsuits from aggrieved parties, costly lawsuits that would have the legal backing of the Human Rights Commission.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.